Monthly Archives: June 2015

A Maiden’s Voyage

Chelsea Caf Project is pleased to present Display #15, A Maiden's Voyage, an exhibition of artworks relating to the limited edition book and dvd of the same title by CCW PhD student Anne Lydiat. The project seeks to find an alternative account of the gendered space of the ship, moving away from the traditional stereotypes of the female on-board as figureheads, prostitutes and that even in the 21st century the ship is still called 'she'. By excavating historical examples, Lydiat demonstrates how women have been written out of this perceived masculine preserve, and in so doing investigates issues of historiography and perceptions of truth. There will be a launch of the limited edition book and DVD of the same title at Chelsea Caf at 2pm on Thursday 2 July 2015.

A Maiden's Voyage is accompanied by images of two women from Lydiat's research including Louise Arner Boyd shown on-board the Veslekari. Boyd was the first woman to venture into Arctic regions where only men had preceded her. In 1926, her love for photography and her fascination with the stories about the first Arctic expeditions prompted Boyd to charter a boat, the Hobby, for a six-week maiden voyage to the Arctic Circle. It was the first of many increasingly daring polar ventures that she financed and directed, bringing back photographs and survey data that resulted in detailed maps of previously unknown regions. The portrait of Beata is an artistic reconstruction of a woman of about 25 years old and thought to have probably been the wife or sister of one of the crew. Her remains were salvaged in 1961 from on-board the warship Vasa that had set sail on her maiden voyage and then sank in Stockholm Harbour on 10th August 1628.



Anne Lydiat has exhibited both nationally and internationally for over thirty years. Since 2002 she has lived onboard an old Medway Coaster moored on the River Thames. Her PhD research asks, if the ship is a paradigm of a Heterotopia, how can gendered art practices inform discourses in relation to this transgressive space? An essential context for her practice-led research is that both her home and studio are on a floating, fully navigable vessel. A fluvial existence where the constantly changing physical relation to the shore, being in between and on the edge both as a physical and conceptual margin, denotes the moving boundary of the heterotopic ship in time and space. As a rite of separation from her liminal state, and to create a space of agency, in 2013 she sailed to the Arctic Circle to follow in the wake of the Louise Arner Boyd. She made drawings, kept a Ship’s Log and filmed and photographed the 'wake' of the moving ship, making permanent the transient presence of her own rite of passage and those of women voyagers from maritime history.

Further details can be found online at [email protected] and

About The Caf Project:
The Caf Project is a series of displays of work by students and staff from Chelsea College of Arts. These changing displays are a chance to see some of the talent here at Chelsea from across a diverse range of disciplines. The series is curated by Sin ad Bligh in collaboration with CHELSEA space (opposite) as part of the Public Programme. For more information please contact Sin ad Bligh at [email protected] or in person at CHELSEA space.

Maiden Voyage logos

Time Piece

On 13 and 14 June CCW Reader Hayley Newman participated in Liberate Tate’s performance/installation/occupation in the Tate Turbine Hall called Time Piece. Liberate Tate is a network founded in 2010 and dedicated to taking creative disobedience against Tate until it drops its oil company funding.

Liberate Tate described the work as, ‘…a durational performance using words, bodies, charcoal and sustenance. The performance takes place from High Tide on 13.06.15 (11:53am) until High Tide on 14.06.15 (12:55pm). A textual intervention, Time Piece is a tide of stories and narratives flowing in waves up the slope of Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. The texts are fictional and factual responses to art, activism, climate change and the oil industry. The performance explores lunar time, tidal time, ecological time, geological time and all the ways in which we are running out of time: from climate change to gallery opening hours; from the anthropocene to the beginning of the end of oil sponsorship of the arts.

Liberate Tate creates unsanctioned live art inside Tate spaces to free Tate from BP. In 2015, it was revealed that BP sponsorship is worth less than half a percentage of Tate annual spending, and is around forty times less than the sum donated by Tate Members last year. BP's oil spills are ecological iconoclasms. The company's presence in galleries and museums is a stain on our culture. When will BP's time be up at Tate? As the age of oil draws to a close and the world looks towards the Paris Climate Summit to tackle climate change, Tate must step into the future and drop BP. #TimePiece

One of the texts used was Newman’s publication, Common, ‘a novella set in the City of London over the summer of 2011. Written in the run-up to Occupy, it encompasses a crash in global markets caused by the downgrading of American debt, turbulence in the Eurozone and protests/riots that started in London before spreading across Britain. Written as Self-Appointed Artist in Residence, events in Common take place over a day. The book brings together the past and present/personal and political and asks; how can lay people understand more about the current economic crisis? How might subjectivity and political agency be combined to create a text that is both immediate and reflective? How might we make sense of crisis from within? What is the impact of the economy on the environment? Common is a metaphor for collapse (social, environmental and economic).’

Art Riot

Art Riot calls on artists and art students to bring or perform an artwork on Saturday at 20 June at the Bank of England in a gathering and marching of a multitude of artworks as part of End Austerity Now. People are invited to bring any kind of portable, wearable or performable art work to accompany yourself as artwork at the riot.

Rather than necessarily creating unified slogans or banners in articulated protest, this is a performative platform that brings art out of the studio and onto the streets to create an alternative, unmediated engagement with a moving, public space that is equally unharmonious.

The project rejects and operates outside of the limitations imposed on the role of art and the artist by an Austerity government that sees our value in terms of economics – from art as a commodity, to our ability to enhance London property value, to our tuition fee value 5 years on from the 2010 student protests. The End Austerity route will march from Bank to Parliament Square, but we will continue on to Millbank Tower, retracing the failed 2010 student protest.

Art Riot is created by Chelsea College of Arts PhD students Lana Locke, Joshua Y’Barbo and Keun Hye Lee and we will be putting together a publication to follow the event – to which you are also invited to submit artwork or text.

Art Riot will meet at 12pm on 20 June at the corner of Bucklersbury and Walbrook (close to the Bank of England / Bank tube station).

Drone on the Range or 'Step Away From Your Shadow'

CCW Professor and Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Drawing Stephen Farthing is exhibiting prints and paintings at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2015. He is working to explain why Native American culture is infinitely more resilient today than it was at the end of the nineteenth century. This is part of Farthing’s research into Native American drawing.

‘I have been following a track that I hope will enable me to better understand how and why eighteenth and nineteenth century colonialists encouraged the indigenous people they encountered to illuminate their oral histories by drawing. I started in Australia and New Zealand with Maori and Aboriginal drawing, then this last year I shifted my inquiry to the Smithsonian Archives in Washington DC, where my focus has been the Native American collections. At the centre of my interest are the Native American narrative drawings known as “Ledger Drawings”. These were mostly made during the mid to late nineteenth century by Plains Indians during their detention in US army forts.

As an artist researcher, my work simultaneously heads off in two directions ' on one side there is the written, on the other the drawn and painted. On this occasion my writing explores the conventions of Ledger Drawings, while my drawings and paintings manipulate images that are concerned with the conventions of warfare, the subject matter of most Ledger Drawings. Each of my drawings starts with 'the brave' and end with 'the sneaky'. Together they become a narrative that takes us from the bald eagle to the drone. The writing, which has quite different ambitions, explores the effects of a European education and the introduction of paper and pencil on Plains Indian drawing. I envisage the drawn side of my research growing into a much bigger project that will in the end be painted and have little to do with its starting point. The writing however, has stayed true to its starting point and will soon be done.

This summer, as a way of testing some early results, I have turned four images – Step Away From Your Shadow and Drone on the Range, Wounded Knee and Dance – into hand finished digital prints that I'm showing at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I find showing at the Summer Exhibition useful. Even if not a critical word is exchanged, it enables me to see what I have done beyond the context of my own studio and in the company of my peers.

Ticking away in the background, beyond the writing and drawing, I have a third direction which is a result of my Chairmanship of the Royal Academy Exhibitions Committee. Two years ago I was asked by my committee to explore the possibility of mounting a large scale exhibition of Native American Visual Culture. Since then I have been involved in a journey and lengthy consultation process that has taken me to museums, archives, Native American reservations and meetings with scholars. The aim? To begin to understand and shape an exhibition that will represent Native American visual culture in London as a resilient contributor to twenty-first century global culture.’

Farthing has been a Royal Academician since 1998.

Top Image: 818 – STEP AWAY FROM YOUR SHADOW #2, hand-finished digital print, Stephen Farthing

sensingsite – In This Neck of the Woods

sensingsiteIn This Neck of the Woods was a one-day symposium held at Central St Martins, King’s Cross, London on 4th June 2015. Offering artists and research students the opportunity to explore in an open, collaborative framework, sensingsite presents practise-based research relating to questions surrounding the materialities of site, space and place. sensingsite is led by Susan Trangmar, Steven Ball, and Dr. Duncan White and has been running a regular series of programs since 2012. It considers the agency of site as a force for the production and reception of experimental critical practice and research.

CCW PhD student Sam Burford, who presented his own research at the event, told CCW Graduate School about the day. His research is an exploration into the ongoing influence of computer technology on the production and documentation of sculpture. ‘This year's symposium comprised of presentations, performances, a small exhibition and screenings in an adjacent space.

Anna Minton (University of East London) and Professor Jeremy Till (Head of Central Saint Martins) presented keynote papers along with MA, PhD and post doctoral researchers from Falmouth University and the University of the Arts London. The morning session focused on topics raised in Minton's book Ground Control (2012), specifically the threat of the growing privatisation of the urban space and the changing conceptual understanding of private and public arenas. This narrative was then extended by a series of presentations from artists and researchers responding to the immediate surroundings of King’s Cross.

Kevin Logan's (LCC) performance

Kevin Logan's performance

A re-occurring theme that was presented was the relationship the students had with the private institution that controls the space both around and within the college buildings. Students explored how the tensions that arose from this relationship had influenced their practise.

The morning session closed with a lively discussion on the impact that the recent surge of unregulated international capital flows has had on living conditions for people in London.

Some of these themes were picked up in the afternoon session which began with Professor Jeremy Till's lecture on the ideological production of the notions of scarcity and austerity, and in particular how this idea could be used to drive design innovation by designers and architects. This then led into a series of papers covering a wide range of topics, ranging from ecological surveys into local fauna to explorations of the use of web cameras in portraying the urban environment around Kings Cross. The day concluded with the presentation of two performative artworks exploring the use of field recording and Foley in experimental sound works.

A relational theme ran through many of the artworks presented during the symposium. Other overlapping themes included:

  • Control:- Adriana Cobo Corey (CSM), Dr Pat Naldi;
  • Trajectories:- Sam Burford (Chelsea), Dr Carali McCall, Maria Papadomanolaki (LCC);
  • Narrative:- Maria Fernanda Calder n (Wimbledon), Dr Kate Corder, Dr Nick Ferguson, John Hartley (Falmouth), Kevin Logan (LCC);
  • Identity:- Ingrid Pumayalla (CSM).

The closing discussion looked at the possibility of extending the ideas raised by the symposium, with future meetings and potential publications.’

Top image: Susan Trangmar (Reader, CSM) introduces the morning session.


Launch of Theatre and Performance Design

CCW Professor Jane Collins, Professor Arnold Aronson of Columbia University and Routledge will launch the new journal Theatre and Performance Design, devoted to the study of scenography, on 22 June at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, PQ 2015. Theatre & Performance Design is a quarterly journal publishing in March, June, October and December.

In their introduction to the journal Aronson and Collins explain why this new publication is so timely. ‘In the past, discussion pertaining to design and production has been hampered by the fact that it was spread across a range of different publications where debates were often subsumed by other aspects of practice. As a result the field has been denied the opportunity to engage with other related areas at the appropriate level, and the critical edge in debate has often been diffused. Further complicating the effort, a de facto firewall was seemingly erected between practice and theory. We hope that with the publication of Theatre and Performance Design, there will be a true conversation, and that researchers, teachers, students and practitioners will now have a dedicated journal that will facilitate rapid and informed response to current, ongoing and emerging concerns, thereby stimulating further enquiry and providing a strong base from which theatre and performance design and scenography can confidently engage with other discourse on its own terms. We hope that this journal will not only make a contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the field but crucially shape how that knowledge is produced.

We wanted this first double issue to address the state of the art in theatre design and scenography internationally and explore the challenges and questions the field faces in the twenty-first century. In the call for papers we suggested that we are currently undergoing a significant “turn” towards scenography, both as a critical framework and as an expansion of practice across a broad range of theatre- and performance-related activities.

What is a “turn”? The Oxford English Dictionary lists more than 40 definitions for the noun “turn” and another 28 for the verb. None cites the academic usage, but a few definitions seem relevant: “change of direction or course”; “the action, or an act, of turning or changing; change, alteration, modification”; “The point at which one named period of time gives way to the next; the beginning or end of a named period of time, regarded in relation to the transition point between it and the preceding or following period”. One definition stood out as particularly apt: “The time for action or proceeding of any kind which comes round to each individual of a series in succession; (each or any one's) recurring occasion of action, etc. in a series of acts done, or to be done, by (or to) a number in rotation”. This, of course, is the definition embodied in the song “Rose's Turn” from the landmark musical Gypsy: “Starting now it's gonna be my turn”. So not only do we believe that theatre and performance studies are altering their direction, moving into a new period, but also that within those fields and beyond it is time for scenography to take centre stage. It's our turn.’

The online version of the journal is now available from Taylor & Francis Online.


Bernice Donszelmann, who teaches on BA Fine Art at Chelsea, will be showing a new exhibition, DESCRIPTOR, at Five Years Gallery from 6-14 June, with the private view on Friday 5 June. Her practice and research are concerned with the negotiation of architectural space, focusing on how aspects of the architectural discipline (and everyday levels of ‘spatial practice’) betray an impulse to work against the structure and permanence of architectural form..

Exhibition: DESCRIPTOR – an installation by Bernice Donszelmann at Five Years Gallery, London.

The floor is portable

The path is mutable

My trousers are extendable

The bed is bendable

A hallway is durable

But the ceiling is permeable

A corner is viable

The balcony, pliable

This area is erasable

The hill, replicable

The window is negotiable

A carpet is zippable

The page is traversable

My hair is unattributable

Feet, manoeuvrable

The desk is luminous

My gloves are voluminous

The wall, magnanimous

The door folds, light holds.